Category: Decking


Although both decking stains and oils come in a wide range of natural wood tones and colours, only decking oils offer ‘clear’ or ‘natural’ versions. Clear decking oil products do however tend to enhance the natural colour and character of decking boards meaning that some colour change is still likely. If it’s a clear finish you’re looking for it’s decking oil all the way.

What is decking oil?

Decking oils help bring out the natural features in the wood, and can protect your decking from warping, splitting, or the formation of any cracks.

Easily maintained and quick to apply, decking oils are available in both clear and coloured variations.

The oil will help your outdoor decking stay resistant to UV rays and water damage, as well as nourishing your decking by replenishing the wood with natural oils.

One of the main benefits of using decking oils is that a little can go a long way, and you’ll get plenty of coverage from multiple thin layers.

If applied correctly using a paintbrush, the oil will also set quickly and should be dry in four to eight hours.

Decking oil is perfect for repairing any small areas of damage to your decking, and won’t crack or peel away from the wood’s surface. It will also add more traction to the wood, meaning your deck will be less slippery when the winter months arrive.

The negatives to decking oil

A potential downside with decking oils is that it isn’t great for exotic hardwood decking, therefore it’s recommended to check the compatibility of the oil before application.

Another issue is if you’re looking to replace the oil with decking stain, you would need to strip the oil from the wood first, as the oil will prevent the stain from sticking to the wood.

You also shouldn’t mix different types of decking oil as they come in two varieties, water-based and solvent-based. Mixing the two types of oil could result in an uneven or patchy finish.

An easy way to tell the difference is by reading the instructions on the label. If the instructions mention cleaning your brushes with water, it’s a water-based oil and if it mentions cleaning the brushes with a white spirit, it’s solvent-based.

What is decking stain?

Decking stain will varnish your outdoor decking and coat the wood to give it a fresh new look. It's widely available in a variety of colours and easy to apply using a paintbrush. 

The stain acts as an extra protective layer between the wood and any debris that can cause damage to your deck. The stain is particularly good for making sure mould or algae doesn’t form on the surface of the wood.

It will also give you plenty of options in terms of colour, which can quickly revitalise your outdoor space and give it a completely new look. The colour pigments in the stain will also help protect the wood from sun damage or grey discolouration.

Similar to decking oils, many stains are quick to dry and it won’t take long to apply the stain to your deck – after it's application, you’ll able to use your outdoor space again in a matter of hours!

The negatives to decking stain

One potential issue with decking stain is that it may crack or peel if the stain itself has been damaged.

This normally happens when water has found it’s way underneath the layer of stain, or if some furniture on your deck has damaged it.

If you’re looking to remove existing stain from your decking, you’ll need to strip the wood of the original coating, something that may require a lot of elbow grease.

Similar to decking oil, decking stain can also be problematic if applied to dark exotic hardwood due to the natural oils that occur in the wood. By leaving the decking to weather naturally for three to six months, the decking should have lost its natural oils, allowing the stain to soak in to the wood.

Which Product to Use?

If you want to maintain your wooden deck’s natural look, decking oil might be the suitable choice. It gives your wooden deck a natural finish, making it easier for you to see the wood’s grain.

But if you are looking for a preservative that will help you change the colour of your wooden deck, a decking stain is recommended. Not to mention, decking stains are available in different colours.


Which Is Best Decking Treatment

While the two preservatives have some similarities, they are quite different. For instance, deck oils can penetrate the pores of different timber decks. On the other hand, decking stains form a thin film that protects the surface of your wooden deck.

Now, here’s the thing:

The thin film that decking stains form is not quite effective in preserving wooden surfaces from strong weather conditions. It may peel off from the surface, exposing your deck to harsh elements.

Decking oil doesn’t lose its functionality easily. It doesn’t crack or peel off from a wooden surface like decking stains. Due to this, it is quite effective in preserving and nourishing a wooden surface.

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